A day after House Republicans voted to sue the president for taking executive action, leadership scrapped plans to vote on an immigration bill today and demanded that the president take executive action. Apparently at a total loss, President Obama offered to walk congressional Republicans' dogs and wash their cars. And the stock market tanked, but somehow this wasn't Washington's fault. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, July 31st, 2014:
CLASSIC HOUSE GOP MELTDOWN - Remember that massive humanitarian and political crisis going on down south? The one that the president HAD to see with his own eyes to understand how severely a response was needed? Elise Foley: "The House abruptly removed a bill from its schedule that would provide $659 million in funding to address the ongoing border crisis, after initially planning to vote on the measure Thursday afternoon. The bill had significant opposition from Democrats, but GOP leadership decided to add a separate vote, if the first were to pass, on a measure meant to bring on conservative support: ending a key Obama policy that allows undocumented young people in the U.S. for years to remain in the country. That move wasn't enough to get to 218 votes. The GOP leadership -- House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), and Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) -- issued a statement saying the House 'will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country.' 'This situation shows the intense concern within our conference –- and among the American people -– about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws,' they said.' There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries." [HuffPost]
SORRY GUYS: @ChadPergram: #BREAKING When McCarthy told Hoyer on floor it was possible there could be more votes, House chamber erupted in chorus of boos.
@elisefoley: Rep Gutierrez statement: "I guess it is harder to take candy from children than they thought."
@costareports: If anything, a vote may now happen on Friday -- a redo of today's mess. But the situation is fluid and top GOP sources remain uneasy.
FLASHBACK TO THE LAST TIME THIS HAPPENED LESS THAN A YEAR AGO - Mike McAuliff, Sabrina Siddiqui, & Luke Johnson in October 2013: "Conservative tea party-aligned groups shot down House Republicans' ill-starred proposal to keep the government open Tuesday, forcing GOP leaders to turn to the Senate to reopen the government and prevent the nation from defaulting on its debt….House leaders had set a 5:40 p.m. rules hearing to move ahead, but canceled it after the Heritage Foundation, Red State and FreedomWorks all slammed the GOP proposal as unacceptable... Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the Rules Committee chairman, emerged from House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office to declare any further activity dead until Wednesday. 'There will be no action, no votes, and the rules committee will not be meeting tonight,' Sessions told reporters." [HuffPost]
FLASHBACK TO WHEN THIS HAPPENED THREE YEARS AGO ALMOST TO THE DAY - Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane on July 28, 2011: "House Speaker John A. Boehner abruptly canceled a vote on his plan to lift the federal debt limit late Thursday after failing to persuade recalcitrant conservatives to back the measure and help him avert an economy-rattling default. After a night of legislative chaos, with control of his caucus slipping in dramatic fashion from his grasp, Boehner (R-Ohio) yanked the bill from the House floor and prepared to make changes aimed at appealing to his tea-party-influenced right flank. Republican aides said they hoped for a Friday vote." [WashPost]
PLAYBOOK FACTS OF LIFE: It's the last day of July and you know what that means -- tomorrow is August.
MEANWHILE - President Obama signed his latest executive order, this one to benefit federal contract workers. From Jen Bendery's pool report: "Obama said he'll use his executive authority whenever he can to help working families, and will keep trying to work with Hill Republicans to do the same. 'I'll wash their car, walk their dog,' he said. Obama noted, to laughs, that House Republicans just 'voted to sue me' for his efforts to make 'a temporary modification to the health care law that they said ought to be modified.'"
CANTOR SAYS FAREWELL - The outgoing Majority Leader delivered his farewell address to the House. John Boehner reportedly sobbed and may have been whispering to his colleague, "take me with you…" Matt Fuller: "Eric Cantor delivered a somber farewell as majority leader Thursday, telling his House colleagues that he has 'truly lived the American Dream.' In a 'one-minute' speech that lasted nearly 10 minutes — the standing ovation alone stretched to 60 seconds — Cantor delivered a doleful goodbye from his leadership post. In his farewell as majority leader, Cantor touched on his background and his legislative accomplishments, noting one of his 'proudest moments' was watching the president sign the 'Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.' He outlined the direction he thought the country needed to go, and he thanked some of his colleagues and staff. Presiding over the chamber, Speaker John A. Boehner dabbed at tears with a handkerchief as Cantor recognized him for showing 'us all your kind heart and soft spot from time to time.' Cantor said that he and Boehner met at least once a day every day the House had been in session for the past five years — a testament to a relationship that saw its share of tumultuous moments but had been greatly repaired in recent years." [Roll Call]
HuffPost Haircuts: Arthur Delaney, Zach Carter, Jason Linkins, Sara Bondioli, Igor Bobic, Michael Crittendon (h/t Michael Steel).
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - This is actually good news, except it's still about hundreds of thousands of people getting laid off: "In the week ending July 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 302,000, an increase of 23,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 5,000 from 284,000 to 279,000. The 4-week moving average was 297,250, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since April 15, 2006 when it was 296,000." [Labor Department]
DOUBLE DOWNER - About your 401ks…. DON'T LOOK!!!! "U.S. stocks ended July with a more than 300-point selloff for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a swoon that snapped a five-month winning streak for the broader market. Traders said there was no single catalyst for the stumble, though selling started early and accelerated into Thursday's closing bell, dragging the Dow into negative territory, down 0.1%, for 2014." [WSJ]
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NOTORIOUS RGB WANTS TO DROP SOME KNOWLEDGE ON MALE JUSTICES: Ruth Bader Ginsburg sat down for a lengthy interview with Katie Couric, saying she thought the five male justices had a blind spot on discrimination issues facing women. She also said she’s planning on sticking around for awhile. HIGHLIGHT: When RBG corrects Couric to note that her online fame started after her dissent in the Voting Rights Act case in June 2013, not after her Hobby Lobby dissent last month. [Paige Lavender] Full interview here.
MEANWHILE: The Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General found that contractors did not provide enough food for unaccompanied minor immigrants in at least one location, and that DHS employees were donating clothing, toys and games and purchasing food out of their own pocket for the kids housed in the facilities.
IN OTHER CIVIL RIGHTS NEWS - The staff of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division gathered this morning in their fifth floor conference room — J. Edgar Hoover’s former office — for an “all hands” meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced that his current deputy chief of staff Molly Moran would be taking over as acting head of the Civil Rights Division. The Division has been without a permanent leader since Tom Perez became Labor Secretary last July. The Senate — including seven Democrats — blocked the nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the office due to his representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of murdering a Philadelphia police officer. Moran, an Indiana native who has been at DOJ since 2009, is “uniquely well positioned to advance the Civil Rights Division’s agenda, from voting rights enforcement to reforming school discipline policies and beyond,” Holder said Thursday. Adegbile’s nomination is technically still pending.
The latest episode of Sam Stein's " Drinking And Talking" features Heather Podesta, Jim Manley, and an admittedly housed John Feehery.
JOHN MICA LOVES MARIJUANA - Who doesn't? Colby Itkowitz: "The congressman who brought a joint to a hearing, and injected weed jokes into speeches long before legalizing marijuana became mainstream, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) is holding his final House Oversight subcommittee hearing before August recess on what else? Being stoned…. On Thursday, riffing off an old John Candy movie, Mica will chair a hearing titled: 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Operating While Stoned' …. Despite Mica’s pretty evident fascination with the drug, he is no supporter. But he’s long been up for a healthy debate about it. In fact, in 1999, he held a hearing on pot legalization — the first one since 1988, according to The New York Times coverage of that Clinton-era hearing. 'He is one of the most obsessive drug warriors in Congress,' said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. 'It’s kind of a mystery to me why he cares so much about this issue.'" [WashPost]
Mica brought a fake joint to a prior hearing and said his staff had "more experience" rolling them.
CIA IN THE NEWS FOR SOMETHING OTHER THAN ITS HILARIOUS TWEETS Times: "An internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency has found that its officers improperly penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing its report on the C.I.A.'s detention and interrogation program. In a statement issued Thursday morning, a C.I.A. spokesman said that agency’s inspector general had concluded that C.I.A. officers had acted inappropriately by gaining access to the computers." Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): "CIA personnel inappropriately searched Senate Intelligence Committee computers in violation of an agreement we had reached, and I believe in violation of the constitutional separation of powers." Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): "The CIA’s misconduct threatens the institution of the Senate and its role in ensuring the proper oversight of our government." [NYT]
BONUS: Nancy Pelosi hesitated to criticized the CIA because they "really come after you." [Laura Bassett]
SWEET LONG READ ON AMERICA'S FOOD FAIL - By Meredith Melnick and Sabrina Siddiqui: "For decades, the U.S. government had a simple message on diet: To avoid chronic illnesses like diabetes, obesity and heart disease, Americans should cut back on saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium. Yet today, we're sicker than ever. More than 29 million adults in the U.S. -- about 9 percent of the population -- currently have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The obesity rate has more than doubled since 1980 and now hovers between 31 percent and 35 percent. About a half-million Americans die of heart disease every year, accounting for one in every four deaths. Clearly, we need to change the way we think about food." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - A letter to the editor defending Fred Flintstone from a wifebeating insinuation.
REMINDER THAT STEVE KING THINKS IMMIGRANTS HAVE MANY FREAKISH CHARACTERISTICS - David McCabe: " Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) had some fun on Wednesday, poking fun at Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) over the Republican's now-infamous comment that some young undocumented immigrants have 'calves the size of cantaloupes.' 'I'd like to inquire as to what calves you inspected on your recent trip and exactly what you saw,' Polis said to King, of his weekend trip to the U.S.-Mexico border. 'I would also point out I did have the opportunity two weeks ago to go to the border, I did not see any calves that were in any way unusual.' A tense-looking King responded that the observations about young immigrants were largely unrelated to the amendment at hand, though they were part of the knowledge base he drew on while writing the legislation." [HuffPost]
- British girl says "broom broom" instead of "vroom vroom," is told to get out of her mum's car [http://bzfd.it/1kp39a5]
- Revisiting last century's Batman movies makes all Batman movies seem ridiculous [http://avc.lu/1k985j0]
- Incredible watermelon cutting technique [http://huff.to/WPTS0t]
- Clickhole's take on crappy street fight vids [http://bit.ly/1oRVHnK]
@diablocody: The movie "Big" would never work now because every 30 year-old acts like that.
@jonfavs: If only the House showed some #leadership and reached out to the House more, maybe it could pass its own bills.
@moody: Qatar is a sponsor of the Congressional Baseball Game and Hamas, which I've always found interesting. https://t.co/szmT1VQJue
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